Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Is the Digital World Killing Creativity? [INFOGRAPHIC]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Is the Digital World Killing Creativity? [INFOGRAPHIC]”

Is the Digital World Killing Creativity? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 24 Apr 2012 04:36 AM PDT

Sure, you can use that smartphone to create an emotionally stirring Instagram of the waffles you had for brunch in mere seconds. But that same device can also serve as a ball and chain for the working world: emails constantly arrive, even during off hours; LinkedIn requests buzz after networking events; and has that important new contact followed you on Twitter yet?

While our current age of digital disruption has opened a cornucopia of new casual creative endeavors, the networked generation’s ability to multitask — and the constant need for instantaneous action — may also be hindering creativity.

Consider this: In a recent global study, three-quarters of respondents said their creative potential is being stifled. More than 60% of American said their education systems squelch creativity, and a majority of total respondents said pressure at work hurts creativity. Yet 80% of respondents worldwide said allowing creativity to flourish is critical to economic growth.

Those numbers come from a recent survey of 5,000 adults in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan. The study was commissioned by software giant Adobe, and its results were announced Monday.

SEE ALSO: How to Be Creative: The Science of Genius | Adobe Launches $50-a-Month 'Creative Cloud' With CS 6

Given that Adobe just released the latest version of its wildly popular Creative Suite line of products including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, it’s no surprise the company would play up the need for a more hospitable climate for experimentation. But the study’s findings do indicate that people worldwide feel unfulfilled creatively. Check out the infographic below for the full picture.

Do you think our increasingly digital lifestyle does more to help or hinder creativity? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, Clicknique

More About: infographics, work

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Today’s Top Stories: Microsoft-Facebook Patent Agreement, Netflix’s 26 Million Streaming Users

Posted: 24 Apr 2012 03:48 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning’s edition of ‘First To Know,’ a series in which we keep you in the know on what’s happening in the digital world. Today, we’re looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Microsoft and Facebook Announce Patent Agreement

Facebook will purchase a portion of the patent portfolio Microsoft had recently acquired from AOL for $550 million in cash, the company has announced. Under the terms of the agreement, Facebook will obtain ownership of approximately 650 AOL patents and patent applications, as well as a license to the other AOL patents Microsoft will purchase and own.

Netflix Reaches 26 Million Streaming Users Worldwide

Netflix has announced its fiscal Q1 2012 results, reporting $870 million in revenue, and nearly 3 million new subscribers to its streaming service, which now totals 26 million worldwide users.

Facebook Reaches 900 Million Monthly Active Users

Facebook has amended its S-1 to IPO with some interesting new data. The service now has 901 million monthly active users and 500 million mobile users. Furthermore, the company made $1.06 billion in revenue in Q1 2012, a 44.7% increase from the same period last year. Facebook is likely to go public on May 17.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: Facebook, features, first to know series, mashable, microsoft, netflix

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Google Turns Into Giant Zipper in Honor of Gideon Sundback

Posted: 24 Apr 2012 02:55 AM PDT

google doodle

Google has a very interesting Doodle today – a giant zipper lets you “unzip” the logo and see the search results for Gideon Sundback, the inventor of the zipper.

Sundback was born on April 24, 1880 in Småland, Sweden; after he had finished his studies he moved to Germany, and in 1905 he emigrated to the U.S.

Working as an engineer for the Universal Fastener Company in Hoboken New Jersey, Sundback perfected the old idea of a fastener based on interlocking teeth.

His “Hookless No. 2″ invention was essentially the modern metal zipper, with each tooth having a dimple on the bottom and a nib on the top, which made the zipper strong enough for everyday use. Sundback patented his invention in 1917.

How do you like today’s Google Doodle? Share your thoughts in the comments.

The Christmas Google Doodle

Each package gets larger with a mouse-over, and a click on it returns search results pertinent to a specific country or the particular items featured in a scene. This one is from December 24, 2010.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: gideon sundback, Google, google doodle, zipper

Meet the Internet Hall of Fame Inductees, From Al Gore to Craigslist’s Founder

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 08:44 PM PDT

1. Ray Tomlinson

Where would we be today without Ray Tomlinson? He is the inventor of email and chose the "@" sign to connect the username with the destination address. Tomlinson's email software (SNDMSG) was distributed for years, and he played a key role in developing the first email standards.

Click here to view this gallery.

The Internet was awarded its own Hall of Fame on Monday — with a slew of inductees that have had a profound impact on the early stages of the web.

A total of 33 visionaries will be among the first to be inducted to the Internet Hall of Fame in Geneva, Switzerland, from former Vice President Al Gore and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark to the inventor of email and the beloved “@” symbol, Ray Tomlinson.

SEE ALSO: Why Most People Say They're Addicted to the Internet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Also included in the list is Robert Kahn, the co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols who is known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet”. He also was responsible for originating DARPA's Internet program and spreading awareness about packet switching technology.

Mitchell Baker — the founding chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation — will also be inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. She helped legitimize Open Source Internet applications, including the Mozilla Firefox web browser. She sought to show that the Internet should not just belong to one company and operating system.

For a full look at who to thank for making the Internet what it is today, check out the gallery above.

Who do you think has made the most impact on the Internet? Would you ever visit an Internet Hall of Fame, similarly to checking out a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thumbnail via iStockphoto

More About: Google, internet, memes, nyan-cat

MatchPuppy: OKCupid for Doggy Play Dates

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 08:16 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Match Puppy Dog
Name: MatchPuppy

Quick Pitch: MatchPuppy is a social networking site for canines.

Genius Idea: The website matches up New York City dogs with furry companions according to size, age and energy level.

Have a fluffy pomeranian or burly beagle in need of pals? Meet MatchPuppy — a website that connects pet owners with others in the same locale so their pets can meet up.

The online doggy network started off as a “dating” website for dogs, says MatchPuppy co-founder Michael Chiang. He found it time-consuming to find a breeder for his three-year-old maltese, Louis.

The startup opened up to general meetups after talking to friends and locals who said they needed an online community to facilitate dog play dates.

“This is a need in the market,” Chiang told Mashable. “A lot of people who have small dogs would rather they have small dogs to play with. It can be used for puppy play date or it can be for breeding.”

The social network would also be great for someone who travels a lot. Individuals can find other pet owners with similar dogs to babysit.

The dog user profiles are easy to set up and share. Details listed include size, breed, gender, age and energy level. Its photo-centric interface makes it easy for pet lovers to share pictures of cute pets on Facebook and Twitter.

MatchPuppy - Doggy Profile

The site’s parks directory makes up a huge part of the social network. Users can search within their favorite parks to see which dogs are regulars.

MatchPuppy is available throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The social network launched in February. MatchPuppy hopes to spread to big pet-loving cities including Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey and Boston.

The startup is working on adding a mobile app in addition to the web app. The startup’s business model will revolve around ads and targeted content that it says will add value to the lives of dog lovers.

“We’re dog owners that will help the dog community,” Chiang says.

Has social media made your life easier as a pet owner? Tell us in the comments.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: bizspark, dogs, pets

Three Men Steal Penguin, Brag on Facebook [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 07:49 PM PDT

In what Internet users are labeling The Hangover come to life, three allegedly inebriated friends broke into Sea World Australia on Saturday evening. Once inside, they swam with dolphins and stole a penguin named Dirk. They also uploaded photos and videos of the caper to Facebook.

The friends panicked after they woke up and found the penguin in their hotel room. They released Dirk into a nearby waterway, where he was chased out of the water by what was likely a shark, and then chased by a dog before witnesses came to the rescue.

Rhys Jones, one of the men who stole the penguin, said he was “still a bit fuzzy about the whole thing, but on behalf of the three of us, we are very sorry and it was just a prank which went way too far,” in an interview aired by Australian television station 7news.

Dirk is now back at Sea World with his mate, Peaches.

"He was extremely disheveled, he was quite exhausted last night after we did catch him but. . .he's settled down well," Trevor Long, Sea World's director of marine sciences, told ABC News.

Well, at least the “three best friends that anyone could have” didn’t wake up to Mike Tyson’s tiger.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

More About: trending, viral, viral videos

Wikipedia Volunteer Editor Reaches 1 Million Edits

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 07:19 PM PDT

Here’s a hobby you’ve probably never considered — making a million edits on Wikipedia.

That’s how Justin Knapp, 29, of Indianapolis, Ind., became the poster boy of Wikipedia editors. The site recognized Knapp’s as the first volunteer editor to reach 1 million edits on the website Friday. The college-educated Knapp told Mashable he has spent 10 hours a day reading and adding to posts since he lost his job as a pizza delivery guy.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales declared April 20 Justin Knapp Day in celebration.

“Wikipedians of the distant future shall marvel at the first person to ever make 1,000,000 edits,” Wales said.

Knapp began using Wikipedia as a resource in the early 2000s and started editing the site shortly after. In 2005, he created a login to track and compile his edits. He averages about 385 edits per day.

He describes himself as an average Midwesterner. He’s frugal, lives conservatively and enjoys volunteering countless hours to the free outlet. His favorite band is R.E.M. and he frequently listens to alternative rock. Knapp studied philosophy and political science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Wikipedia’s estimated 90,000 editors are unpaid and on the decline. In 2007, Wikipedia had more than 100,000 active editors.

“Increasing active editors is a primary objective of the Wikimedia Foundation this year and over the next few years as part of our strategic plan,” Matthew Roth, a Wikipedia spokesman said. “We believe that increasing the size of our engaged community is a positive objective for the long-term health of the projects.”

Knapp added: “If anyone else feels like they value sharing free knowledge, there is always something to be done at Wikipedia.”

Knapp’s political agenda got him interested in contributing to the site. He started editing Wikipedia because he said “there wasn’t enough coverage on the Western Sahara.

“I was not interested in providing a balanced prospective, I was interested in political advocacy,” he said. “I have since realized that Wikipedia is not the outlet for political advocacy and that this isn’t really a tool for me to play around with.”

Knapp said his motivation has shifted. Now, he is focused on re-arranging information logically within the site. Knapp is particular about grammar and is easily irked by a missing comma or an improperly used hyphen.

The majority of his million edits are relatively small, he says. He is drawn to music, politics, philosophy and religion.

“I find editing Wikipedia relaxing and rewarding,” Knapp said. “It’s a hobby of mine. It’s what I like to do.”

Jobs in the philosophy industry have been hard to come by, he says. He has completed odd jobs. Currently, he is taking prerequisite classes for nursing school. He plans to apply to nursing school in the future. Regardless, he plans to continue editing Wikipedia articles as a super user koavf.

What do you think of Knapp’s accomplishments on Wikipedia? Tell us in the comments what you think about the openness of the online database.

Image courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation

More About: trending, wikipedia

The More You Sit, the Sooner You’ll Die [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 06:58 PM PDT

Yet another reason to push for stand-up desks: A recent study by Australia’s Sax Institute says sitting down for several hours a day could bring you to an early grave, even if you already exercise.

The study followed more than 200,000 Australian adults aged 45 and older from 2006 to 2010. It found that those who reported sitting for at least 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying within the next three years than people who sat for less than four hours a day. It’s part of the Sax Institute’s ongoing 45 and Up study, the largest study on healthy aging ever undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere.

While exercise has numerous health benefits, it doesn’t necessarily take away this risk. As reported in The Atlantic, “while the death risk was much lower for anyone who exercised five hours a week or more, it still rose as these active people sat longer.”

Long work hours aren’t the only cause of our sitting styles. According to The Atlantic, it’s estimated that the average adults spends 90% of his leisure time sitting.

“People tend to think they’re okay as long as they get their ‘dose’ of working out each day,” Mark Tremblay, obesity and activity researcher at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, told Reuters Health. However, he says, “Getting your 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week is not insurance against chronic disease.”

SEE ALSO: Just How Dangerous Is Sitting All Day? [INFOGRAPHIC]

So what can we do to get on our feet more? For work, a stand-up desk might help — or even a treadmill desk, if you’re feeling more high-tech.

But we can’t forget the lifestyle factor to consider outside of work — especially if we are spending most of our free time sitting. “Try to find a healthy balance between sitting, standing and walking or other physical activities,” Hidde van deer Ploeg, the study’s lead author, told Reuters Health.

What do you do to increase your daily physical activity? Let us know in the comments.

More About: exercise, health, Video

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20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz This Week [CHART]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 06:40 PM PDT

Which newly-legal, facial hair-challenged pop star made an appearance on The Voice last Tuesday, launching the show to the top of this week’s social TV chart? Hint: It’s not Zac Efron. He’s 24. And I think he can grow a goatee.

If you guessed Justin Bieber, you win. The teen pop sensation released a brief clip of his upcoming video “Boyfriend” on The Voice, and is set to return and perform on the show’s finale on May 8.

During last week’s show, RaeLynn and Ashley De La Rosa from Team Blake and Team Christina, respectively, were sent home. The second round of quarterfinals begins Monday April 23.

The data is compliments of our friends at Trendrr, who measure specific TV show activity (mentions, likes, checkins) across Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue and Miso. To see daily rankings, check out Trendrr.TV.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, subjug

More About: features, infographics, Social Media, social tv, social tv ch, Trendrr, TV

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CISPA Won’t Die — It’s More Like the Patriot Act than SOPA

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 06:02 PM PDT

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

The Cyber Intelligence Security and Protection Act, better known as CISPA, is headed to the House floor this week amid a flurry of amendments and controversy.

When the bill first gained notoriety, it was compared to the much-hated Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

But there’s a key difference. While SOPA was labeled as a threat to free speech, CISPA has been criticized as a threat to online privacy — and that’s why it’s well on its way to passing without attracting mainstream attention.

Americans will voraciously defend their right to free speech. But they’ve acquiesced to the slow erosion of their right to privacy. Witness both the passing of the PATRIOT Act in the wake of September 11th, 2001, and the rise of the social web.

The PATRIOT Act was a response to an incredibly traumatic event, passed at a time when most of us feared for our safety more than anything else. More than a decade later, however, most of the bill still exists as law — much to the dismay of the privacy-minded.

The bill has contributed to a national ethos of security over everything, including our own privacy. The National Security Agency is even in the process of building a behemoth of a data center specifically to analyze our digital communications.

Simultaneously, social media is turning the concept of privacy on its head, with its ever-present demand to share. A recent satirical piece in The Onion credited Facebook with dramatically cutting the CIA’s costs in building a database on every American citizen.

A visit to YourOpenBook.com reveals just how much information people willingly give up on the Internet. Mark Zuckerberg put it this way: “people have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.”

When we’ve gotten so used to surrendering our privacy, how can anyone expect to suddenly coalesce an online movement based on its defense?

There’s also a matter of timing: CISPA had more than 100 co-sponsors and the support of a smorgasbord of technology companies before it ever gained notoriety. That’s something SOPA never enjoyed.

There are, of course, still plenty of privacy-minded Internet users among us. They’ve been trying to organize opposition to CISPA via petitions and on sites like Reddit, where some of the early anti-SOPA chatter began. Technology blogs and civil rights groups have sounded their alarms.

Their efforts are commendable, because they’re fighting for something they believe in — but they’re not going to stop CISPA. The forces in favor of the bill are just too great.

What they are doing, however, is changing CISPA.

Since the bill’s introduction and subsequent response from the privacy-minded, the bill has been altered at least twice — and more changes are expected when it reaches the House floor.

The authors of the bill, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (R-Md.), have been working with technology firms and privacy advocates to improve the legislation. Some of the most onerous parts of the bill still remain intact, but I’m told by those involved in the talks that another draft is on its way early this week.

It’s unlikely the final bill will address all the privacy concerns held by Internet users — Rep. Rogers told me that he knows he can’t make everyone happy at the same time — but there’s a chance that the final product could be a middle-of-the-road compromise between safety and security.

If that happens, mark this one down as a victory — albeit a partial one — for the politically-minded tech community. The final lesson will be this: Where SOPA taught the Internet community it could kill a bill, CISPA will teach it the art of compromise — which, after all, is the heart of politics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, franckreporter

More About: CISPA, cybersecurity, Politics, SOPA, US

Kaka to Be World’s First Athlete with 10 Million Twitter Followers

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 05:34 PM PDT

Brazilian soccer star Kaka is on the verge of becoming the world’s first athlete to amass 10 million followers on Twitter.

The midfielder, who plays for Spain’s Real Madrid club team, was about 30,000 followers short of the milestone as of late Monday afternoon. If Kaka maintains his recent pace, his @KAKA account should hit eight figures within the next day or so. He added more than 35,000 followers in a single day twice during the past week, according to the stats site TwitterCounter.com.

While Kaka rules the Twittersphere of sports, he’s just 17th on the overall list of most-followed tweeters. Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber — the network’s first and second-most popular users — count more than 20 million followers apiece.

Kaka’s Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo is the second most-followed athlete on Twitter. He’s 21st overall, and has just under nine million followers. Retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal is the only other sports figure among the network’s 60 most popular users. O’Neal has 5.5 million followers, good for 55th overall.

SEE ALSO: Lady Gaga the First to Hit 20 Million Twitter Followers

Kaka tweets in English, Spanish and Portuguese. He appears to manage his own account, posting short messages a couple of times per day. He also tweets photos of himself and teammates, his playing gear and venues of upcoming games. He personally responded to several followers who tweeted him good wishes for his birthday on Sunday.

Which sports figures do you follow on Twitter? Let us know in the comments.

BONUS GALLERY: Twitter’s Funniest Sports Parody Accounts

1. @NotBillWalton

NBA legend and hardcore Grateful Dead fan, Bill Walton is known for his sometimes curious verbiage and his philosophical take on the game of basketball. This account takes full advantage.

Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image via @KAKA.

More About: sports, trending, Twitter

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Are Hipster Playing Cards Cool Enough for Kickstarter Funding? [PICS]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 05:08 PM PDT

Hipster Playing Cards

Click here to view this gallery.

Images of the stoic kings, queens and jacks on playing cards could soon be replaced with drawings of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, cassette tapes and mustaches. That’s if a Seattle man attracts the funds to make them.

Ray Thomas has launched a project on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to raise $3,500 to manufacture the cards. Face cards and number cards in the deck would all highlight items often associated with hipster culture — think bicycles, cigarettes and thick-framed glasses (see designs in the gallery).

Thomas is banking on the popularity of all things hipster to make his “hipster playing cards” a reality.

SEE ALSO: Hipsters From 2062 Slam Social Media [VIDEO]

“I definitely think the internet helped hipster culture become more well known,” Thomas, who doesn’t describe himself as a hipster, told Mashable. “The Hipster Kitty, Hipster Ariel and Hipster Barista memes definitely helped as did people calling each other hipsters on Facebook.”

Thomas commissioned graphic designer Andrew Kerr to create the items on each card. He approached Kerr after attending a music show.

“The idea really came about when I was in Denver for work and looked up an old friend via Facebook,” Thomas recalls. “We went out to a concert one night that was filled with hipsters. I ran the idea by him — a hipster — and he thought it was funny.”

SEE ALSO: 'Hipster Games' Contestants Fight for PBR, Brunch [VIDEO]

Previously, Thomas unsuccessfully attempted to raise $4,200 for the production of playing cards that would feature 52 memes, including Success Kid, Business Cat, Y U NO Guy, Sad Keanu, Hipster Ariel, Futurama Fry and Pepper-Spray Cop. Nearly 150 people donated $2,195 to fund that project.

It’s not uncommon for notable projects to fail meeting funding goals. Seventh-grader James Hardman, for example, wanted to build the world’s largest tablet, but his ambitious $50,000 goal stalled at $6,719.

Other creative minds, however, have found major success on Kickstarter. One project — to produce watches that interacts with your smartphone — has raised more than $6 million with 25 days left for people to invest.

The hipster playing cards project has garnered $348 from 18 backers with 40 days remaining.

More About: funding, hipsters, humor, kickstarter, memes, trending

Watch Out, Dropbox! Microsoft Updates SkyDrive, Offers Up To 100GB Storage

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 04:36 PM PDT

Microsoft announced an update to its SkyDrive service Monday. Among other features, Microsoft integrated the drive into Windows Explorer and Apple’s Finder so the drive works as an extension of your desktop, and added the ability to access files stored on your drive from the iPad as well as the iPhone and Windows Phone.

Microsoft has been building SkyDrive alongside Windows 8, which is expected to launch later this year. The cloud-storage option lets you access your files on the go. Monday’s update expands on the functionality that was already present on the drive, making storing and accessing those files more seamless.

SkyDrive for Windows

In February, Microsoft announced a SkyDrive Metro-style app for Windows that allows you to fetch files from a connected PC. Monday’s SkyDrive update adds to that feature, allowing you to access your SkyDrive from Windows Explorer on Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Files up to 2GB in size can be dragged and dropped onto the drive, and are stored in a folder just like other files on your PC. The drive works as an extension of your existing hard drive, and any app that works with local folders on your computer will now also work with SkyDrive.

SkyDrive stays in Sync no matter where you access it. So, if you change a file name on your phone, the file will also be renamed on your computer. Likewise, if you delete a file from SkyDrive.com, the file will also disappear on your computer and smartphone.

SkyDrive.com lets you browse and stream videos from any connected PC, as long as that computer is connected to the web. So, if you wanted to show a co-worker a video from your recent vacation that was stored at home, you could access that file from your work computer via the SkyDrive website as long as your computer at home is connected to the web.

New platforms

SkyDrive became available for Windows Phone and iPhone in December, and now Microsoft is also bringing the service to the iPad. Files can be moved, renamed and deleted remotely on the iPhone and iPad as well as Windows Phone. You can also see your remaining storage space, share with people, revoke their access or change their permissions from view-and-edit to view-only.

SkyDrive is also now available on Macs running OS X Lion. Much like you can on your PC, you can manage your SkyDrive offline using Finder on the Mac. Since SkyDrive is integrated with Finder, any Mac app that opens from or saves to the file system will also be able to access SkyDrive files.


Microsoft is offering 7GB of free storage for new SkyDrive users, a drop from the 25GB of free storage space it previously offered for free on the service.

If 7GB just isn’t enough for your needs, the company is also offering several paid storage options:
20GB for $10/year, 50GB for $25/year, and 100GB for $50 a year.

Those who already have SkyDrive accounts –and have uploaded a file before April 22 – will be able to keep their existing accounts and opt-in to continue to receive 25GB of storage for free. Those who have already uploaded 4GB of data prior to April 1 are automatically opted in.


There are quite a few cloud storage options currently available. Dropbox is currently the king in cloud storage scene, offering 2GB of storage for free, $50GB for $9.99/month, and 100GB for $19.99/month. Microsoft’s plans seriously undercut that pricing. Dropbox offers individual plans, however, up to 1000GB in size.

A lot of cloud storage attention has recently been on Google, who is rumored to be launching its own cloud-storage option – Google Drive – later this month. That service is rumored to give users 5GB of free storage, and be heavily integrated with if not replace Google Docs.

Do any of you currently use SkyDrive? What do you think of Monday’s updates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: cloud storage, Dropbox, ipad, iphone, microsoft, SkyDrive, trending

7 Tips for Women in the Tech Industry

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 04:08 PM PDT

Being a female entrepreneur in the male-dominated tech industry is challenging, and comes with a distinct set of barriers. Thankfully, there are several female-led organizations that are working to bring more women into the tech fold.

I asked a panel of successful young female entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, what challenges women in tech face, and what could help eliminate some of those barriers? Here’s what they shared.

1. Women’s Organizations Help

While women tend to be more relationship-oriented in general, I’ve found that networking our way into the inner circle of the tech world is not as easy for us. There are probably a number of reasons for this, but I believe organizations like Women 2.0 and Women in Technology will be instrumental in bridging that gap in the coming years.

- Lisa Nicole BellInspired Life Media Group

2. Sharing is Key

Whether a woman is contemplating launching her first startup or simply considering registering for a course that will teach her to code, it’s so important that she share this with friends and colleagues. When these conversations between women don’t take place, the circle of women in tech grows at a much slower rate. Outside the tech world, there’s this perception that “only men are doing it.” But if we all talked about it more, I think that would give more women permission to dive in.

- Amanda AitkenThe Girl’s Guide to Web Design

3. See the Glass as Half Full

Despite the fact that we tell girls and women that any path is possible, there are still strong gender roles that reinforce the idea that women aren’t as good at STEM skills. The most important step we can take is to integrate these skills in the classroom as early as possible by showcasing successful female tech entrepreneurs. We also need to quit treating women in tech as a rarity, when numbers have grown dramatically. We’re creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we need to step back from that.

- Thursday BramHyper Modern Consulting

4. Develop Access to Capital

Women founders can find it more difficult to raise funding for their businesses. The statistics show that less than 20 percent of female-led ventures get funding, which is much lower than the statistics for men. That said, there are several great organizations trying to help women reach their funding goals, including Women 2.0, Astia, and others. We need to support such groups.

- Doreen BlochPoshly Inc.

5. Be Yourself

When I was starting TalentEgg, not only was I a woman in the tech industry, but I was also very young — a 24-year-old who looked like I was only 15. Thankfully, I learned early on that my biggest strength was my ability to be myself. I didn’t pretend to be older than I was, or have more experience than I had. I also didn’t try to emulate men in my industry. I was just me, and I never listened to any commentary regarding the barriers that I was supposedly facing by being a young woman in technology.

- Lauren FrieseTalentEgg Inc.

6. Having Some Chutzpah

When it comes to women in tech, we need more of them, and a little chutzpah, too. I say that because once women start getting their hands dirty in the tech world, there’s no stopping them. That’s what’s important to remember. Also, there’s a huge shift happening right now as more women show an interest in this space. Those actions needs to be rewarded at a much earlier age for girls.

- Nathalie LussierNathalie Lussier Media

7. Find Mentors

I recently read that only one in five professional women have had a mentor. Yet, most women believe having a mentor is important for career advancement. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, often discusses how important mentors have been in her career. When looking for a mentor, I think it’s good to seek out males and females. Women are more likely to choose a female mentor, and while I think it’s critical for women to support other women, it’s also good to have a male perspective. Personally, my male and female mentors push me and challenge me in different ways, and I really appreciate that.

- Natalie MacNeilShe Takes on the World

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, courtneyk

More About: contributor, entrepreneurs, features, ment, women in technology

Caregiver Site Helps Families Sync Schedules

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 03:57 PM PDT

One quarter of Americans act as a caregiver to a family member — and that number will only increase as the baby boomer population ages.

So how does one balance the emotionally demanding job of caring for your loved one? Hopefully, you can have others help with tasks such as doctors appointments, picking-up prescriptions, getting groceries, doing laundry, or one of the many responsibilities caregivers are charged with.

A new website, CareTogether.com, aims to make the caregiving process easier. It offers a free forum for caregivers and their families to share advice and offer support.

The site also lets families share a calendar so everyone can see when it’s their turn to take the loved one to a doctor’s appointment or run an errand. It will also let you share doctor’s notes and photos with select family members.

CareTogether was created by BrightStar Care, a healthcare staffing service and in-home care placement agency. A spokesperson for the company said the site is free and users do not have to be registered with BrightStar to access the site.

CareTogether works on all different platforms and integrates with Facebook, Gmail, Outlook, Google Calendar and more. Currently, CareTogether does not offer an app, but you can access the home screen from your smartphone.

Will the caregiver in your family use this site? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, bowdenimages

More About: caregiver, elderly, Families, family, web tools

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Country Star Jason Aldean Tweets Video to 7-Year-Old Fan With Brain Cancer

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 03:36 PM PDT

Country crooner Jason Aldean turned to celebrity social network WhoSay on Monday to post a video message directed at 7-year-old fan Tyson Zimmer, who has brain cancer.

Tyson’s mother Liz Duering told KOLN-TV in Nebraska over the weekend that her son is dying of cancer and “if Jason Aldean even just sent a video message that would make his day big time.”

Aldean swiftly responded minutes ago, sending a link to the WhoSay video to his 449,000 Twitter followers.

“I heard you’re going through a little bit of a rough time,” Aldean says in the clip. “Hope you’re feeling better soon. … Just wanted you to know I was thinking about you, man. So take care and get well soon, buddy.”

KOLN-TV reports Aldean also sent Tyson autographed items.

Thumbnail from KOLN-TV video

More About: cancer, Twitter, videos, WhoSay

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New Gmail Comes to All: Do You Approve? [POLL]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 03:22 PM PDT

The new Gmail is officially here. We’ve known about this new design for months now, but much like Facebook Timeline, the rollout to all users has been a slow process.

Google officially announced the redesign in November. Until recently, however, users still had the option of reverting back to the old look. That’s not the case now, as Google has followed up its redesign of Google+ with an involuntary change to new Gmail for all users.

James Fallows of The Atlantic was one of the users putting off switching to the new look. He laments the changeover, calling it “the forced ‘improvement’ of something that wasn’t broken,” an opinion that’s been echoed on Twitter throughout the product’s prolonged unveiling.

However, many people feel just fine about the new Gmail, including some of our commenters. Jeff Kee wrote that he was a voluntary convert. “I actually like the clean look without clutter,” he wrote. “More focus on the emails – I love it.”

But as with any major redesign of a widely used product, there will be a range of opinions. So we’re asking you to let us know what you think. Answer our poll below and tell us in the comments what you think of the new Gmail look.

1. Resizing Options

Gmail users can now control the density of their inbox. Depending on your preference of white space, you choose manually between three sizes: comfortable, cozy or compact.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: gmail, Google, trending

4 Tips for Picking the Right Crowdfunding Platform

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 03:09 PM PDT

Ryan Caldbeck is the founder and CEO of CircleUp, an equity-based crowdfunding platform. Prior to CircleUp, Caldbeck was a private equity investor at Encore Consumer Capital and TSG Consumer Partners.

Raising capital is one of the most important, and intimidating, decisions in the life of a young company. Founders have long had to worry about questions around valuation, dilution, and the impact of potential investors. Now that the JOBS Act has been signed into law, a whole new set of opportunities has been opened through crowdfunding.

SEE ALSO: JOBS Act: What Crowdfunding Means For Your Startup

However, while there has been much written about the need to protect investors who crowdfund, there has been little talk of what companies need to look for in a crowdfunding portal. Below are four things companies should consider when selecting a crowdfunding source.

1. Find Out About the Site's Investors

Just as you care who your investors are, you should care who is investing in the crowdfunding sites you’re considering. If a crowdfunding site is connected to great investors, its founders are likely also connected to great companies in an industry. Those connections help ensure deal flow, and great deal flow is what attracts the kinds of investors you want as part of your shareholder base. Additionally, crowdfunding sites with a strong reputation in an industry can form valuable partnerships with strategic investors, who can offer an eventual exit option for your company.

2. Beware of Adverse Selection

If a crowdfunding site is populated by adverse selection, meaning it’s littered with tech companies who could not raise money from established channels like VC firms or angel groups, it probably means the quality of company on the site is relatively low. That, in turn, attracts less savvy investors. Look for sites that list high-quality companies as users. Those companies imply great deal flow, meaning the crowdfunding site can connect you with a good pipeline of value-add investors.

There are some industries, like business services or consumer products, that are an exception to this rule. In those sectors there are few institutional investors who will write checks for sub-$5 million businesses. In those cases, crowdfunding sites can attract top-tier small companies, and the top flight investors who want to be a part of these companies.

3. Check On Security

As part of the crowdfunding process, companies are sharing a lot of sensitive information with potential investors and the crowdfunding portal, so you need to be sure your information is safe. You should look for crowdfunding sites that are registered broker-dealers, as these are the only sites allowed to broker equity securities. You should also seek out sites that provide legal consultation, escrow services, and other technical security protections, all of which can protect your interests during the capital raise.

4. Know the Legal Documentation

When you raise equity capital, at the very least, you will need to sign a stock-purchase agreement, investor-rights agreement, and potentially amend your certificate of incorporation to create additional shareholder classes. Most crowdfunding portals will have a relatively standardized set of rights and covenants to offer you for these documents. While it is critical that your attorney review these, there are certain key provisions you should look out for and understand on your own.

For example, what are the information rights for investors' stipulated in the investor-rights agreement? A monthly reporting obligation will place a different demand on your time than a quarterly one. Another thing to look out for: Do you, your company, or a group of investors you know well have drag-along rights for a potential liquidity event? Your shareholder base will grow significantly as a result of crowdfunding, and a rogue shareholder or group of shareholders can derail a subsequent capital raise for you. Drag-along rights allow you to force minority shareholders to agree to a liquidity event if a specified group of your other shareholders agree to it. Other issues, like whether you will be selling preferred or common stock and provisions around valuation, are critical too. Make sure you understand how all these items affect your company and your wallet.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, djgunner

More About: angel investors, contributor, crowdfunding, features, Startups

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Yelp Spam Begone: Software Weeds Out Fake Reviews [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 02:52 PM PDT

Software engineers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a spam-detecting algorithm that uncovers bogus reviews on popular review sites such as Yelp or Amazon.

The program called GSRank — Group Spam Rank — targets groups who work collaboratively to write fake reviews.

“People try to game the system by opinion spamming (e.g., writing fake reviews) to promote or demote some target products,” the official report says. “For reviews to reflect genuine user experiences and opinions, such spam reviews should be detected.”

Finding groups of spammers was more effective than finding individuals in this study. Certain behaviors stuck out. Spammers post frequently in a four-day window and target new products or those with no reviews.

Another telltale sign of spam: similar language used throughout a number of posts.

GSRank has consistently outperformed all other current methods when it comes to detecting fake reviews, according to the research report.

The development of the algorithm — sponsored by the Google Faculty Research Award — will help companies direct their users away from spammers. The engineers have been able to focus on the suspected spammers and see how they work.

Do you use online review websites? Tell us in the comments if you have suspected spam while shopping for products online.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, alexsl

More About: amazon, reviews, Video, yelp

Craigslist Founder Will Donate $1 if You Tweet About Squirrels

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 02:31 PM PDT

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has launched an experimental social media fundraiser.

Newmark will donate $1 to the National Wildlife Federation for each mention of the hashtag #Squirrels4Good on Twitter or his Facebook Page, up to 5,000 mentions. He’ll also give $1 for each new follower he gets over the next few weeks.

The Craigslist founder announced the fundraiser in a Craigconnects blog post Monday, describing his affinity for the “urban survivors” and posting a video of a squirrel on his deck.

“In the short term, I’m learning how to use social media to support the stuff I believe in,” Newmark told Mashable in an email. “I do most of my work in my home office, where frequent visitors remind me of a growing love of the natural world.

“Beyond that, I need to learn social media more effectively to support what I believe in the 20-year range and the 200-year range.”

SEE ALSO: Craigslist Founder Launches $100,000 Social Giving Competition

The Craigslist founder chose squirrels, he says, because he’s a big fan of them, along with birds.

@Common_squirrel, a Twitter account tweeting from the perspective of a squirrel, will be teaming up with Newmark to spread buzz of #Squirrels4Good.

“I do most of my work in my home office next to some woods, where frequent squirrely visitors remind me of a growing love of the natural world,” Newmark wrote. “Through social media, I became acquainted with @common_squirrel. We share a love of the little critters and nature in general. It made for a great partnership to raise money for related causes and social media is the method of choice for us both.”

Newmark says he’s already set up a squirrel board on Pinterest for photos, videos, quotes and facts about the tiny creatures.

Are you planning on using the #Squirrels4Good hashtag to make a donation? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, bartvdd

More About: animals, craigconnects, craigslist, Social Good, trending

Startups Make Their Pitch to Get Into TechStars [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 02:16 PM PDT

One of the biggest moments in an entrepreneur's life can be their pitch to a potential investor. In order to get into TechStars, one of the leading startup accelerator programs, companies must first stand out from hundred of applicants and be chosen to present their idea in-person to the program's investors.

In the second episode of TechStars, the documentary about the process that we are airing on Mashable, teams are invited to the TechStars office in New York City to give their pitch. While some of the teams nail their big moment, others struggle, with a co-founder of one of the startups embarrassingly showing up late to the meeting.

Watch the Full Season of TechStars on Mashable

We also get to see TechStars board of notable investors debate the merits of some of the companies vying to get into the program, debating issues such as technology vs services businesses and bad startup names. Check out episode 2 below, or jump to the show page for TechStars on Mashable where you can view the entire season.

TechStars on Mashable

Getting into a top startup accelerator program can make the difference between a company making it big and being lost in the ether. Mashable is going behind the scenes of that experience by bringing the show TechStars to our community.

We've made the entire series available on-demand, and chopped it up into short segments that are ideal for Internet viewing. Over the course of the next couple of months, we'll also be sharing each episode as part of a Mashable post, giving our community a chance to discuss the themes of each show in our comments section. You can read more about TechStars on Mashable here.

More About: mashable video, techstars

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What Movies Are Getting the Most Online Buzz?

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 02:00 PM PDT

Mashable’s mRank is presented by the Samsung Galaxy Note, a smarter phone for a smarter world. Check it out here, follow @SamsungMobileUS or join the conversation via #benoteworthy on Twitter.

Hunger GamesMashable‘s mRank leaderboards track the most buzzed-about movies across the social web. mRank’s technology analyzes a particular term — in this case movie titles or words associated with a certain title — and creates a leaderboard based on how how often that film is mentioned on Facebook and Twitter and discussed on blogs. We have leaderboards for a bevy of events and topics, from TV to music, and you’ll see more pop up for events like the Olympics and the NFL draft.

Now that the summer movie season is about to kick off, we wanted to take a closer look at the movie leaderboard to see what flicks are garnering the most social conversation. Not surprisingly, The Hunger Games has been holding strong — both online and at the box office. But in the coming weeks, we expect to see even more online buzz around titles like The Avengers, Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises.

What’s Buzzing Right Now

Unsurprisingly, the film with the most social buzz across Twitter, Facebook and blogs is The Hunger Games.

mRank gives The Hunger Games a 100 on its ranking scale, and we’re sure that the franchise’s big fan community — not to mention popular Internet memes — has helped the film dominate social discussion.

The Hunger Games has already grossed over $356 million at the U.S. box office, and it continues to dominate overseas as well.

Still, it’s not just box office blockbusters that are getting buzz online. The Weinstein Company’s documentary Bully is in less than 300 theaters, but the social and digital buzz around the film has made it the third most-buzzed about film, according to mRank.

Genre films like Joss Whedon’s horror flick The Cabin in the Woods (ranked number 7 according to mRank) are also getting a lot of online buzz. The long-shelved project from the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Dollhouse seems to be tracking well thanks to his bevy of socially-savvy cult fans and the positive initial reviews surrounding the film.

The two films that dominated the Academy Awards — Hugo and The Artist — also continue to perform well online.

Likewise, the buzz surrounding the re-release of Titanic in 3D — coupled with James Cameron’s appearance at NAB Show — have kept Titanic 3D in the top 10.

In the comments, tell us what movies you’re discussing online and what upcoming films you can’t wait to see.

mRank presented by Samsung

Mashable’s mRank is presented by the Samsung Galaxy Note, a smarter phone for a smarter world. Get ready to unleash your creativity and productivity. Check it out here, follow @SamsungMobileUS or join the conversation via #benoteworthy on Twitter.

More About: features, mashable, movie leaderboard, Movies, mrank, trending

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Netflix Adds 3M Streaming Subscribers in Q1, Now Has 26M Total

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 01:45 PM PDT

Netflix added close to 3 million streaming subscribers in its first quarter for a total of 26 million, but lost 1 million DVD subscribers and posted a loss.

The company’s net loss of $5 million, or 8 cents a share, for the quarter is less than analysts predicted, but Netflix’s stock was down about 4% in after-hours trading.

The company’s domestic streaming subscriber number was exactly where analysts had predicted: 23.4 million. Netflix also picked up 1.2 million streaming subscribers internationally for a total of about 3 million. Meanwhile, the company lost 1 million DVD subscribers in the quarter and now has just over 10 million DVD subscribers in total. The loss is less than the 2.8 million drop in DVD subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2011, when the company’s price hike took effect.

Looking ahead, the company predicts it will add about 7 million domestic streaming subscribers this year, which means it will end the year with about 30 million such subscribers total.

The DVD business now accounts for $320 million in quarterly revenues vs. $370 million in Q4. The profit for DVDs is now $146 million compared to $194 in Q4. Domestic streaming, meanwhile, accounted for $507 million in revenues for the quarter vs. $476 million in Q4 and contributes $67 million in profits compared to $52 million.

As for content deals, Netflix reported that there was “no discernible change in churn or viewing levels” after the company’s deal with Starz ran out in February.

More About: netflix, streaming video

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Startup Improves Google Social Search

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 01:21 PM PDT

A startup called Wajam has created a more useful social search experience for Google than Google could.

Google’s own three-month-old social search product is called “Search Plus Your World.” But given the absence of Twitter and Facebook updates in the product’s results, it would be more appropriate to call it “Search Plus Your Google+.”

Wajam, which first launched its free browser extension last year, includes other social networks in search results.

The startup introduced a new interface on Monday that sets its search results to the right of Google search results. When users make a Google search query, they can filter social results by specific friends who posted status updates, photos or videos about a specific term. They can select, for instance, only photos that their friend Bob posted on Facebook or only videos Danielle posted to Twitter.

Wajam’s plugin also brings social search to Yahoo, Bing and about 30 other websites — although not all of them are search engines. On TripAdvisor, Amazon, Yelp and eBay, Wajam adds a social search bar to the top of the page for relevant recommendations.

Wajam benefits from not asking social networks for permission to crawl their data. Instead, it asks individual users for permission to access their social feeds, and those feeds are only used in their owners’ results.

Facebook does not allow Google to use its data in search results. Twitter once powered Google’s real-time search, but that relationship expired in July and was not renewed. Microsoft’s Bing has relationships with both Facebook and Twitter that allow it to incorporate some of their social data in its search results, but its solution is a far cry from personalized social results.

Wajam has company in startups such as Topsy and Bottlenose in the social search space, but it cooks itself into products people already use.

It will be interesting to see if Twitter and Facebook appreciate this round-about journey their social data has taken to search engines. If they don’t, Wajam has a problem.

When the startup exceeds the number of calls to either company’s API, it will require a commercial agreement to continue using their data.

“Some people will look at this and wonder if they should like it or be pissed off,” Wajam CEO Martin-Luc Archambault says. “Hopefully since we’re improving the experience, we’ll make friends.”

Will you try Wajam’s plugin? Sound off in the comments below.

More About: Google, Search, social search, wajam

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Is Apple Killing the 17-Inch MacBook Pro? [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 01:10 PM PDT

Apple may be dropping the 17-inch MacBook Pro from its products lineup this year, according to an industry analyst.

KGI Securities research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts Apple is cutting the largest laptop it sells because of weak sales.

The 13-inch (starting at $1,199) and 15-inch (starting at $1,799) MacBooks are, by far, the most popular MacBook models. See the video above to view how the 17-inch MacBook Pro compares in sales.

There has been speculation about a MacBook Air and MacBook Pro hybrid for months. The family of new laptops, according to various reports, would essentially replace the current line of MacBook Pro laptops and compete with the lighter flash memory-based MacBook Air.

“While adding new products, Apple is likely to stop making the 17-in. MacBook Pro this year due to falling shipments, in order to maintain a lean product line strategy,” Kuo wrote in a report.

Kuo’s report says Apple’s laptop sales will likely spike in the second quarter of 2012 due to Mountain Lion, the rumored Ivy Bridge integration, and September’s annual back-to-school rush for laptops.

SEE ALSO: Intel Launching Next-Generation 'Ivy Bridge' Chips

Kuo expects an early third-quarter release, between July and September, for the new class of MacBook Pros. According to DigiTimes’ sources, the thinner class of 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros are already in production.

Do you think ditching the 17-inch MacBook Pro is a smart move for Apple? Will you miss the larger screen option? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Mac Users Guide.

More About: apple, Business, Macbook Pro

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Facebook Now Has 901 Million Users

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 12:59 PM PDT

Facebook disclosed on Monday that it has 901 million users, making it likely that it will pass the 1 billion mark well before the end of the year.

The company, which dropped the stat in its amended S-1 filing, also notes that its network receives 3.2 billion comments per day and 300 million new photos daily. The site also claims 125 billion friendships. Of the 901 million figure, 526 million were described as daily active users in March. Some 488 million people also used Facebook mobile products that month, according to the filing.

When Facebook filed its IPO paperwork with the SEC in February, the network tallied 845 million users. Back in January, Gregory Lyons, a senior analyst at iCrossing, estimated that Facebook would hit 1 billion users by August, a rate of growth that appears plausible based on the latest numbers.

Even before Monday’s latest numbers dropped, Facebook was by far the largest social network in the world. Twitter, which passed 500 million users in February, is number two on the list — although Twitter says that only 140 million of those accounts are active.

How big will Facebook get, and how fast? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: Facebook, trending, Twitter

How Google Searches the Entire Web in Half a Second [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 12:54 PM PDT

It only takes half a second for Google to return a search based on keywords you type in, but there’s a whole lot more happening behind the scenes to give you the results you need. Google on Monday launched a video that explains the science behind how the massive search engine actually works.

Matt Cutts, software engineer head of Google’s webspam team, details in a YouTube video how the search engine giant thoroughly scours the web on a daily basis to provide the most up-to-date results to users.

“There are three things you need to do to be the best search engine in the world. First, you need to crawl the web comprehensively and deeply, then you want to rank or serve those pages and return the most relevant ones first,” Cutts said.

Although Google crawls the web on a daily basis, that wasn’t always the case.

“We used to crawl for 30 days… and then index for about a week and push that data out — and that would take about a week,” Cutts said. “Sometimes you would hit a data center with new data and sometimes you would hit a data center with old data.”

But this method wasn’t optimized since a lot of the information would be out of date. In 2003, Google switched to crawling a significant amount of the Internet each day. By scouring the web each day for new content, it incrementally updated its index.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Google Search More Effectively [INFOGRAPHIC]

“We have gotten even better over time, and at this point, we can keep it very fresh,” Cutts said.

To do so, page rank is the key deciding factor as to how likely you are to see a link: “We basically take page rank as the primary determinant and the more page rank you have — that is, the more people that link to you and the more reputable those people are — the more likely it is that we will discover your page relatively early in the crawl,” Cutts said.

Google also places a lot of emphasis on word order. For example, a search for pop singer “Katy Perry” will look for results with those two words next to each other, rather than having “Katy” and the word “Perry” show up in different parts of the content.

Finding the right balance between word proximity, page reputation and links pointing to it is the key.

“That’s kind of the secret sauce,” Cutt added.

Google then sends that query out to hundreds of different machines all at once, which look through their fraction of the web that has been indexed to find the best match.

“We say, ‘what’s the best page that matches this query across our entire index?” Cutts said. “We take that page and we try to show it with a useful snippet, so we show the keywords in the context of the document and get it all back in under half a second.”

How do you think companies can use this information to better show up in Google search results? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thumbnail via iStockphoto, franckreporter.

BONUS: 10 Great Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses of Google

1. Life at the Googleplex

This official Google vid offers a tour of Google HQ (a.k.a. the "Googleplex") in 200 seconds. Most interesting snippet of info? There are more than 200 dogs on campus on any given day. Woof!

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, Search, trending

Facebook to Investors: Here’s Why We Bought Instagram

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 12:42 PM PDT


Facebook’s updated S-1 filing has offered some new details on its recent Instagram purchase, including structure of the payment.

The social networking giant paid $300 million in cash for Instagram and about 23 million shares of common stock. In addition, Facebook has agreed to pay a $200 million termination fee to Instagram if the government blocks the deal or if either party terminates the agreement before Dec. 20, according to the filing. Given the stated $1 billion value of the deal, Facebook is assuming a stock price of about $31.

The $31 share price had been mentioned in previous reports, which used the price to calculate Facebook’s market capitalization at around $75 billion. However, if Facebook’s stock price goes to $40 — a figure closer to how it was trading in the secondary markets — then the company’s market cap could be as high as $104 billion. Facebook’s IPO is set for May 17, according to reports.

The filing notes that Facebook bought Instagram “as independent mobile applications to enhance our photos product offerings and to enable users to increase their levels of mobile engagement and photo sharing.”

More About: Facebook, instagram, trending

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Facebook’s Updated IPO Filing Shows Drop in Ad Revenue

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 12:31 PM PDT

Facebook released an amendment to its S-1 filing Monday, showing a drop in advertising revenue for the quarter. Total advertising revenue amounted to $872 million in the quarter ending March 31, down from $943 million in Q4 2011, but up from $731 million during the same period a year ago.

Total revenue declined six percent, from $1.131 billion to $1.058 billion, between the fourth and first quarters. Total revenue was $731 million in the same period a year ago. Net income clocked in at $205 million, down from $233 million in Q1 2011.

None of this should be a serious cause for concern for investors: advertising revenues are typically stronger in the fourth quarter than the first quarter of a given year.

Facebook noted that revenue continues to shift from North America to more rapid-growth markets such as Germany, Brazil, Australia, and India. The U.S. and Canada now account for 50% of revenue, a decrease from 54% in the first quarter of 2011 and 58% in 2010.

In addition, Facebook disclosed that it now has 900 million registered users, 532 million of which are active daily. The number of mobile users has passed the the 500 million mark.

The updated filing also reveals the financial details of Facebook’s bid to acquire Instagram, which was announced earlier this month. It turns out Facebook did not, in fact, pay $1 billion in cash for the photo-sharing app. Instead, the company forked over 23 million shares of its common stock (valued at $31 per share) plus $300 million in cash. Instagram will receive $200 million should the deal fall through.

What do you think about Facebook’s Q1 performance? Does it make you more or less interested in investing when the company goes public later this year?

1. General Motors

Headquartered in Detroit, MI, GM owns Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC.

Proceeds: $23.1 billion

Year: 2010

Image courtesy of Flickr, Crouchy69

Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, akinbostanci

More About: Facebook, trending

Adobe Launches $50-a-Month ‘Creative Cloud’ With CS 6

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 12:18 PM PDT

Adobe has announced a significant switch to a cloud-based version of Creative Suite alongside the launch of the latest version of its popular line of design software.

Unveiled at an event in San Francisco on Monday, Creative Cloud represents a shift for Adobe after years of simply selling packaged software. Now users have a subscription option to download Photoshop and other programs, save work online and share projects more easily.

“It is a really big day in Adobe’s history,” CEO Shantanu Narayen said Monday, later calling CS6 and Creative Cloud “our most ambitious offering ever.”

Narayen framed the launch as a necessary move for Adobe. As more and more people explore digital creativity, casual users and professional designers alike increasingly expect multi-device access to their work.

Creative Cloud subscriptions will start at $50 per month with a one-year commitment, or run $75 for a month-to-month contract. Owners of previous Creative Suite versions can access the new cloud-based service for $30 per month for their first year.

Adobe executives said the monthly pricing plans will save users from having to pay four figures up front — and will make Creative Suite programs accessible and appealing to a wider audience.

CS6 includes updated versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash Pro, Premiere Pro, InDesign and other programs, along with a pair of new post-production apps.

Versions of the suite range from $1,299, or $299 as an upgrade, to $2,599, or $549 as an upgrade. CS6 is purchasable by download as well as in traditional shrink-wrapped form.

Creative Cloud includes all the CS6 programs, plus the Edge and Muse web-development tools. The service also comes with 20 gigabytes of free cloud storage.

What’s New in CS6?

Beyond improved cloud accessibility, what’s new in CS6? A souped-up Photoshop generated the most excitement among press and powers users at Monday’s event. Included in that is a content-aware move tool that makes moving foreground images and filling in backgrounds easier than ever.

The theme of making Creative Suite programs more media-centric and less tech and tools-based extends to other programs as well. In Dreamweaver, assets are automatically scaled for web browsers as well as mobile delivery in templates — which should save countless hours laying out content for multiple devices and print.

In Illustrator, gradients can now be applied to strokes as well as shapes. Premiere Pro shows a simpler design too, as it looks to become the standard in video-editing software.

But Creative Cloud was the star of Monday’s show. Adobe executives said it would grow in value as more features and updates are added. And the ability to store, access and share work via the web is a decided shift.

“It’s clear to us we’re living in perhaps the most disruptive time in the history of technology,” Narayen said.

With Creative Cloud, the Adobe thinking goes, creative professionals will be able to leverage — rather than simply react to — the current pace of change.

Do you think Creative Cloud will be a game-changer for Adobe users? Let us know in the comments.

More About: adobe, design, Photoshop

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